Have I mentioned to you that my brother is working in Africa for the summer? This has nothing whatsoever to do with gribiche or purple potatoes, except that in his absence, his excellent girlfriend decided to get to know the family better (!).
So last week, she came armed with books to read to Jake and very graciously and happily entertained him while my mom cuddled Caitlin and I made lunch.
I fretted quite a bit over what to serve her: it had to be something simple but interesting (because someone mentioned that I was a good cook…thus knocking PB&J out of the running…), and of course it had to be wheat- and dairy-free for my mom! For days I pondered what to make, hemming and hawing until I thought I would have to serve grocery-store-salad-bar salad, and then I whipped out my copy of Super Natural Every Day and I was saved by the first recipe I saw!
This simple dish of roasted veggies and eggy dressing was delicious! It is a full meal all on the same plate, with protein, carbs, and veggies all mixed together. We basically licked the serving plate clean. I know I will be making this salad again and again.
(And lest you think I am an overachiever for trying a new recipe especially to impress, let me just admit that I served five kinds of random leftovers for dinner, so I am not really earning any A’s for Effort here….)
I have a grand tradition of making a deeply chocolatey dessert each year for Valentine’s Day.
Because Valentine’s Day really is all about chocolate.
Chocolate and more chocolate.
Which is exactly what you get if you make a chocolate lava cake! A tender, dark chocolate cake surrounding a gooey, fudgy center that flows out and sauces the cake. You can gussy this up any way you like, with ice cream or whipped cream or berries. No matter what you choose, this dessert will be a perfect treat (and it will only take you 15 minutes to make it!).
Let’s talk about really easy, elegant appetizers. Appetizers that look like they took a lot of work, but in fact, took you about 5 minutes. Appetizers that are amazing and yummy and full of butter and cheese. Like appetizers should be.
Because it’s appetizer season!
(Around our house, we readily agree that the only reason to be excited about the Superbowl is good food.)
This baked Brie is so simple and so delicious! It will be a huge hit at any party, whether you plan to eat it on the couch in front of a big TV or around a table with a group of girlfriends.
I am not sure how I got it in my head that I just had to make an onion tart…but suddenly, one day, it was all I could think about.
This tart is amazingly delicious, a little like French onion soup with a crust. It’s got deep brown, caramelized onions, a small mountain of shredded Gruyère cheese, freshly grated nutmeg, and fresh thyme. It’s like a dance in your mouth.
It is so Gloomy today. Gloomy with a capital G. The sky is bleak and gray, the air is frigid, and it’s raining. Not even a nice, steady rain, but pouring (which I admit, I find somewhat pleasant) for 5 minutes—long enough to make humongous puddles on the sidewalk and drown my new flowers—then spitting and dripping for an hour…then starting over.
Plus, I am in the middle of Spring cleaning, and today is curtain washing day. So even the inside of my house looks a little depressed.
On days like today, I really need to remind myself that Spring is a good thing. That I like Spring.
On days like today, I just need asparagus.
I just had to share this dessert with you (even though I have posted nothing but sweets this whole month—I promise I’m not actually eating this much sugar all the time).
Chocolate mousse is my all-time most craved dessert at this time of year. Yes, I know mousse is passé. No, a dessert practically named after two woodland creatures (mouse? moose?) is not particularly romantic.
But this chocolate mousse is just so rich and silky, and every spoonful is just deliciously chocolatey, the way it melts in my mouth…I find it luscious. That is all.
I suspect the reason I am so ga-ga for chocolate mousse is that I had been all geared up to make it for our Valentine’s dinner two years ago…and then I discovered that Jake was on the way! Mousse = raw eggs = Melissa did not get to eat dessert for Valentine’s that year. I think that experience firmly planted in my subconscious a little timer that goes off around Valentine’s every year demanding chocolate mousse. Absence made the heart grow fonder?
Bottom line. Don’t eat this if you are expecting. But if you are not…go make this mousse right away! It’s way easier than you think.
Sometimes I get silly ideas.
Like…let’s take this extra bag of kale greens I bought and turn it into soufflé. Easy peasy.
I had never actually made soufflé before. Like any sensible person, I had a deep and abiding fear of soufflé. But then I figured that savory soufflé would be easier than the dreaded chocolate…maybe more forgiving somehow? Kind of like making a really fancy omelet? Plus, I don’t have an actual soufflé dish, so I was going to be making individual-size ramekins. Also seems easier, right?
As it turns out, although these soufflés made roughly half the dishes in my kitchen dirty, they were not at all traumatizing to make! In fact, I would totally do it again, because not only did my kale-hating husband enjoy these (thank you, Gruyère and eggs), but my 1-year-old ate almost an entire soufflé by himself (he may or may not have shrieked and begged for more after finishing the last bite)! Success.
Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love the crisp, cool air, the leaves on the ground, and giving myself permission to eat heavier foods again.
The week, CSA dumped a big pile of hard, green apples into my lap—perfect for making a fall dessert! Tarte tatin!
This dessert is a little nerve-wracking to make, but the result is (apparently) delicious!
A few weeks ago, we went to Montreal with several of my husband’s siblings.
Traveling with a baby is…interesting. We had fun, but I am not too eager to fly with Jake again soon (and sorry to everyone who suffered from burst eardrums when my cheerful, angelic child turned into a velociraptor). One of the other weird things about traveling with a baby is that sightseeing time is cut in half…since we had to keep going back to the hotel for naps.
But even though I missed a few museums and bike rides, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I did not miss out on delicious food. Specifically, food from the famed Montreal dessert restaurant, Juliette et Chocolat.
Holy moly. We went there three times. I wish I were still there right now.
Oddly enough, although I fully intend to try my hand at several of their desserts, the first thing I am recreating is one of their savory specials, the tomato galette.
You may be scratching your head in confusion right now, since I obviously made a crêpe in the picture above. But I learned from Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini that in France, savory crêpes are often made with buckwheat and called galettes! I struggled with whether or not to make a pie-style galette here at home, since that lines up better with my expectations of the word galette, but eventually I decided to go the more authentic French route. My main consideration, honestly, was the tomatoes. I have had a lot of trouble with soggy veggies on pizzas and galettes this summer (CSA veg is so fresh that it seems to release a lot more liquid when heated), and it would have broken my heart to waste good CSA produce! I knew that roasting the tomatoes separately would be the best thing for the dish as a whole, which meant screwing up my courage and making crêpes for the first time.
Um…by the way…crêpes are probably the easiest thing in the world. If you’re worried about not having the right kind of pan, then don’t— you can always make slightly smaller crêpes!
Ode to My Mandoline
Oh mandoline! How your sharp, angled blade sets my heart a-flutter.
Your smooth, white surface
Parallel and barely offset from that blade
Eagerly waits for squashes and eggplants
To be swept across it.
As I slice hundreds of thin slivers of vegetables,
Quickly but carefully,
I exclaim with surprise and delight
That I will never again need to spend two hours
Awkwardly cutting vegetables to make ratatouille.
You have vaulted to the top of my list
Of favorite kitchen implements.
When I think about this dish, I often think about the food critic in the movie Ratatouille saying, “If I don’t love it, I don’t swallow.” Happily, he loved this ratatouille, and after you make this, you will know I am not kidding when I say that the movie ratatouille is possibly the most delicious veggie dish ever. And it better be, since it takes almost all day to make (um, but much less time if you have a mandoline to slice up all that veg. Worth the $30. Deeeefinitely worth it!). But your tenacity will definitely be rewarded!
I made this from a combination of CSA veggies and farmer’s market finds. Hurry out while summer produce is still plentiful and grab yourself as many tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, and summer squash as your arms can carry!